How to avoid Christmas decoration fires

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(WWLP) – The holidays are finally here. As the holiday season approaches, are you taking the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and that of your loved ones?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, nearly half of Christmas ornament fires occur because the decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but it can increase the risk of fire if you don’t take proper precautions.

The Massachusetts Fire Department has a few tips for you to decorate hallways this season while being safe in the face of fire:

  • Keep your decorations away from heat sources: Carefully inspect lights and wires. Throw away light strands with frayed or pinched strands.
  • Hydrate your tree: Make sure you water your tree regularly. Dry trees have a higher probability of catching fire
  • Candle Safety: If you want to light candles, be sure to maintain a one foot safety circle around them to prevent potential accidents and place them on a stand. Do not leave candles unattended or in places where they can be easily knocked over.

Protect your home and family with smoke detectors

  • Install working smoke detectors on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairs, and at the bottom of basement stairs.
  • Maintain smoke alarms. Test them once a month.
  • If the alarm uses regular batteries, change them at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks. A “chirping” sound indicates it’s time for a change
    batteries.
  • Smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years. Alarms are labeled with their date of manufacture. If there is no label, they are over ten years old and need to be replaced

Protect your home and family with carbon monoxide detectors

  • The law requires that carbon monoxide alarms be installed on every level of your home, including living areas of basements and attics, in most residences.
  • On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within ten feet of bedroom doors.
  • When purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, be sure to look for the approval label from an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), International Approval Service (IAS), or the Canadian Standards Association. (THAT’S IT). Most carbon monoxide alarms sold in the Commonwealth meet these standards, but it’s a good idea to check before you buy.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms can be
    • Battery operated with battery monitoring
    • Plug-ins with battery backup
    • Low voltage systems
    • Wireless
    • Qualified combination
  • Replace carbon monoxide alarms every five to seven years, depending on the make and model.
  • New CO detectors have a ten year sealed battery that does not need to be changed. At ten years, the entire device is replaced.
  • If you have a plug-in model, be aware that the battery will discharge during an extended power outage and may need to be replaced.

For owners and tenants

  • Nicole’s law also requires homeowners to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms in every home that has a source of carbon monoxide.
  • Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect carbon monoxide near the furnace, boiler rooms or garage.


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